A few words about terms

UX stands for User Experience. The term refers to the feeling that the user gets when interacting with the interface: how easy/difficult it is to perform an action to achieve the desired goal.

UI stands for User Interface. The concept defines the external characteristics of the product: design colors, ease of use, text readability and other visual elements.

Design. This is construction/design, in which the construction of an object is created and presented in a certain form.

UX and UI Design is the creation of various interfaces where visual presentation and usability are equally important.

What is the difference between UX and UI?

What is the main difference between UX and UI design? UX design is responsible for the product’s functionality and the emotions users experience. The simpler the interface, the easier it is to get the result and perform the target action.

UI design involves the visualization of a prototype developed based on the target audience’s experience. This is work on the graphical representation of the interface: illustrations, menus, buttons, fonts, and so on.

The difference between UX and UI is the difference in tasks. Since user experiences are different, UX design should analyze the actions of visitors, create prototypes of behavior, and conduct testing, which is what the UX designer does. The main goal of a UI designer is to explain to the user how to use the product.

But in practice, UX and UI are closely related, and it is not always possible to define their boundaries.

What unites UX with UI?

Even though UI and UX are different concepts, they need to be used together for a common purpose. By dividing UI/UX into two independent tasks, it turns out that the UX designer will develop the site navigation, and the UI designer will simply draw the buttons without really thinking about their functionality. Even with the high-quality work of each individual specialist, the interface may turn out to be inoperable.

It should also be understood that a UX / UI specialist is not only about web design but also about other interfaces, including offline ones. Therefore, it is important to clarify the area of ​​competence of a specialist.

Not always a UX designer understands UI and vice versa. In some cases, it is more expedient to involve narrowly focused specialists in teamwork. But when UI and UX design are done by different people who do not interact with each other, the risk of getting an inferior product is high. For example:

  • difficult to use interface with amazing design – weak UX, good UI;
  • very easy-to-use nondescript interface – high-quality UX, weak UI.

The combination of UX and UI determines usability (usability – ease of use), that is, the simplicity and comfort of working with the site.

The higher the level of site usability, the more convenient it is for visitors. The user should easily find the necessary information, not get confused by the functionality and structure, and at the same time, get aesthetic pleasure from interacting with the resource. Visitors will quickly leave a web resource and go to competitors when using a web resource is inconvenient.

Top UX tips for web developers

We prepared some useful UX tips for developers. Let’s look at them in more details:

Maintain visual hierarchy

Each page has a defined visual hierarchy. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, here’s the definition: “Visual hierarchy is defined by the arrangement, size, color, and contrast of elements on a web page. It determines their relative importance and the order in which the eye detects them”.

Web designers use visual hierarchy to draw visitors’ attention to the important elements first. For this, position (higher or lower), dimensions (larger or smaller), visual effects (videos, images, icons) and contrast (negative space) are thought out. The combination of these techniques enhances the effect.

Everyone will see a large video high up on the page surrounded by contrasting negative space. On the other hand, few people will pay attention to the tiny gray text on a white background, hidden next to the site’s footer.

Use a descriptive title with keywords

The title at the top of the homepage is either descriptive or useless.

If the latter, the visitor will not be able to answer his first question: “Did I get to the right place?” The title is a unique opportunity to use a target keyword phrase and indicate relevance. But many marketers write something smart or vague.

Rule number one: a clear headline is better than a smart one. It just needs to explain the company and put you in a good light.

Design long pages. Answer all questions.

More pixels means more space for responses, objection handling, and social proof. If the visitor has not found the answer to an important question, they continue to scroll. All short pages break the conversion process.

Don’t use stock photos of people

There is a time for free stock photos, but we would advise avoiding the same smiling images as fire. They never work. Rather, they inspire distrust.

Companies are tempted to stock photos because it is a high-quality free product. However, the same faces are smiling from millions of other sites – and this destroys trust.

Improve ease of navigation

It is crucial for users to know where they are, how they got there, how to go to the page they need, and how to return to the main page. It would seem that these are obvious things, but many people neglect them, so check if the navigation is clear and easy to use. Some elements are very easy to implement into it.

Highlight the name of the page the user is on in the menu with color, stroke, or watermark. Add “breadcrumbs” – an interface element that shows the order of sections through which the user reaches the final page.

Each element of the “breadcrumb” should be clickable – that is, the user can go to any level of the chain by clicking. In a mobile version or an application, to save space, usually, only the name of the previous page is indicated, through which the user can get to the directory one level higher.

Keep the state of the previous page

Make sure that when working with the site, the user does not have to repeat the actions that he has already performed once.

If the user filled in some data or applied filters, went to the next page, and then decided to go back, the previously entered values ​​should not be reset.

The need to re-fill forms or select filters is very annoying, and with a high probability, the user will never reach the landing page – they will stop shopping and will not enter data again.

Pay attention to buttons

Check that the buttons have a clearly distinguishable state:

  • normal condition;
  • change on mouse hover;
  • pressed state;
  • inactive button;
  • focused button (used when navigating with the keyboard).

Typically, this is shown with a color, matte, or stroke. The difference should be noticeable. The user may not notice the difference if the active button is marked in blue and the inactive button is the same but only a little lighter. The modern layout allows you to experiment with color and the transparency of the button, making it glow or cast a shadow.

Check that all interactions are interpreted unambiguously

Ambiguous wording or badges in a poorly thought-out UX is confusing and makes the site experience ineffective.

Not only graphics are important, but also UX texts – they do not tolerate confusion. For example, if the user needs to delete or cancel something, then confirming the cancel action should not be consonant with closing the dialog box. A win-win option is to ask a question in a dialog box and give the choice of “Yes” or “No.”

If you are using switcher buttons, indicate additionally with color or transparency whether the switcher is enabled or not.

Don’t ignore service pages

Service pages indicate unforeseen situations that arise when working with the site: problems on the site, non-existent pages, or lack of search results. Instead of simply reporting a bug to users, you can use those pages to useful ends, such as building trust, selling something, or helping the user make a choice. For example:

  • error 404 (page not found): report that such a page does not exist and prompt the user to follow the link to the main page or some interesting section;
  • error 503 (service unavailable): express regret that work is underway on the service and write when approximately they will end;
  • error 403 (access denied): advise you to go to other sections of the site or register;
  • and if the desired product is not found, offer the user to view similar or popular ones by adding a link to them.

It is clear that the error message causes negative emotions in the user. Therefore, you can try to smooth the impression by using humor.

Make the web a more environmentally friendly place

In the current contemporary era, when we are transforming much of our physical lives into their virtual counterparts, it is critical to be mindful of the website carbon footprint

However, we can still make a difference if end users make conscious choices and web designers practice mindfulness and a knowledgeable approach to sustainable online design. A great website design company always thinks about these things. 

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.